Site details

(lookup in gazetteer)
Flag of France
5 stars - Fully protected as a national park or Natura 2000 site by national legislation
LTBR Focal Site

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Bay of Banyuls-sur-Mer. Photo: Gilles Boeuf

Synoptic description of site:

Mediterranean coastal area along a rocky shore; shallow water (0-40 m) bay sheltered by Cape Bear at the North, submitted to two major wind regimes (NW, SE)

Extensive description of site:

The Bay of Banyuls-sur-Mer is located on the rocky part of the Catalan coast. It is a shallow (<50m) bay characterized by a transition from sand to mud as depth increases. The Baillaury River shows periodic floods.

Habitats present:
Littoral XX
Seagrass bedsX

Description of fauna and flora:

The fauna and flora are exceptionally diverse, which led to the creation of a marine protected area. They are well documented and researched since 1882.

Human impact:

This area is submitted to very low pollution levels since it is located far away from large cities and major industrial sites. Waters are relatively turbid due to the inputs of the Rhône river enhancing a shift of fauna and flora to lower depth.


All facilities for marine biodiversity research are available, from research vessels, SCUBA diving facilities, fully equipped laboratories, and an important library.

Available database and website:

The species inventory (Faune marine des Pyrénées Orientales ) is very comprehensive, and is available as hard copy. Several other data bases are available on request.

Commitment and ongoing research:

The Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls is involved in various aspects of marine biodiversity research including: (1) the assessment of causes and consequences of recent shifts in benthic macrofauna composition, and (2) the interaction between diversity and functions in microbes. These researches are coordinated with the long term monitoring of environmental parameters.